Feb 8, 2017 - Health

Manchin a no on Tom Price, setting up likely party-line vote

(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin will oppose Rep. Tom Price's nomination as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, meaning Price is likely to be confirmed with only Republican votes. The Senate has a procedural vote on Price's confirmation tonight, setting up a final vote that's likely to come sometime Friday morning.

In an interview with Axios on Wednesday, Manchin said he's opposing Price because of ethical questions raised about his stock trading. Democrats have said Price lied during his confirmation hearing about receiving a privileged, discounted offer to buy stock in a small biomedical company, as the Wall Street Journal reported. There have also been allegations that Price introduced and supported health care legislation benefitting companies he owned stock in.

"I'm really surprised he hasn't maybe pulled himself out, you know, for that reason," Manchin told me. He also said he disagrees with Price's previous support of privatizing Medicare, saying that "would put a lot of people in jeopardy."

Why it matters: Price will almost surely still be confirmed, so Manchin's vote isn't likely to change the outcome. But party-line votes on nominees — the first ones in history, thanks to the dismantling of the filibuster under Democratic leadership — is not a good look for the new administration.

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